Retrans Reform Fans Echo Mediacom

Mediacom was getting support from expected sources Tuesday after it called on the FCC to take some action on various retrans petitions and inquiries, including one just filed by the cable operator.

“The concerns expressed by Mediacom CEO Rocco Commisso are shared by hundreds of members of the American Cable Association, and ACA applauds this filing," said American Cable Association president Matthew Polka. "The record is clear: The FCC needs to update its rules governing retransmission consent to ensure consumers are protected from ever-increasing retransmission consent fees and ongoing TV station signal blackouts.”

Mediacom is an ACA member, and both are members of the American Television Alliance, a group of cable and satellite operators and others, which added its own voice to the retrans reform chorus Tuesday.

“The retransmission consent system is broken and American consumers are paying the price," said ATVA spokesman Trent Duffy. "Mediacom’s letter and FCC petition make a very strong case for the FCC to act to prevent consumers from being harmed by the broadcast industry’s brass-knuckle tactics.", which represents broadcasters arguing against a retrans overhaul, was not joining the chorus.

"It takes a lot of nerve on Mediacom's part to file such a self-serving petition to 'fix' retransmission consent without acknowledging its own legacy of abusive treatment of consumers," said spokesman Rob Kenny. "For the record, the American Customer Service Index has found the pay-TV industry is the most disliked business sector in America. Moreover, Mediacom tied for dead last with ATVA member Time Warner Cable as the worst pay-TV company. So maybe Mediacom and ATVA should look in the mirror if they are truly concerned with the plight of consumers."

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.